Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Getting Invisalign - and 10 (honest) reasons it could work for you...

So, if you read my cautionary tale several months back about not doing anything that involves your body on the cheap, you'll know that last year I got 'invisible' braces and didn't complete the treatment because the dental surgery went bust from all their cut-price deals, destroying my dreams of straight teeth in the process. As it turns out, not only did the surgery go bankrupt, so did the company who actually made the braces. So in terms of failed treatments there's no hope of ever finishing, nice job, CiCi.


It wasn't all bad, my top teeth were nearly there when it ended. The bottom are still hopeless (above!), just not now ranking on the Picasso scale of teeth appearing in parts of my gums they shouldn't. But they still bother me and I hate smiling with my teeth, so I've taken the plunge for a second time to try to sort them out once and for all. And this time, it's the proper Invisalign treatment rather than a copycat company that Invisalign sue and ultimately shut down (i.e. my first provider).

And as I embark on this mission again, it occurs to me I've learned a fair bit during my experiences with this kind of 'invisible' brace. So much so that I might even have a bit of advice for anyone considering it...

10 reasons why Invisalign could work for you

And I'll start by saying I'm in no way being endorsed by Invisalign, so this is the honest - and let's face it, sometimes disgusting - truth. I've seen other blogs write-up treatment lately but I don't feel like they've presented enough of the cons alongside the pros. Don't get me wrong, it's an amazing way to straighten your teeth and I can't wait to see the end results, but it's not going to be for everyone. 

It might work for you if...

1. You can afford it

This seems obvious, but a lot of people don't know quite how expensive this treatment is. In the UK, expect to pay a minimum of £3,500 for full treatment. I'm in no position to pay for this all in one go - and I wouldn't these days anyway as it's much more risky (eh-hem) - but most surgeries will offer finance plans. You've still got to be able to pay instalments though, so it really needs serious consideration. Unless you're a millionaire, in which case, if you feel like paying for the rest of my treatment and yours, be my guest.

2. You're prepared for not quite invisible


Look closely at the teeth in the above picture... notice anything about one of my centre front teeth? No, my tooth isn't bumpy, or at least, it wasn't until two plastic 'attachments' were stuck to it. Invisalign keep quiet about this aspect of this treatment in a lot of their marketing paraphernalia, but pretty much everyone who has the treatment has to have these things stuck on to help rotate the teeth. I got REALLY lucky because not only do I have 18 (!) of them, two are on one of my most prominent front teeth. It takes the 'invisi' out of 'invisible' when the shiny braces are bouncing the light off your lumps. It's still subtle enough most people probably won't notice, as they're tooth-coloured, but just be prepared for this likely eventuality. They will glue them on with what smells like super glue and is a darn sight tougher. The only way those things come off is by being filed off.

3. You're able to get to schedule your entire life around bathroom breaks

One of my closest friends spends literally all day at work in meetings. Others have social lives that involve, you know, going out and eating meals/having drinks with people. My parents seem to constantly be having more fun than me on last-minute mini-breaks in Europe. If any of these conditions where you have a busy life apply, having to clean your teeth 3+ times a day every time you want to eat or drink anything other than water, before you can put the braces back in, is really going to be a huge pain. Your life with these braces is a giant schedule of bathroom breaks - at the start it will be both to take the aligners out (see dribble point below) and to put them back in... These aligners are supposed to be in 22 hours a day - I'd say anything less than 20 and you're in trouble... and it's amazing how quickly the minutes add up after eating (and you can loose nearly half an hour just on one cup of tea), but especially if you're out and about or otherwise occupied. 

4. You don't get distracted easily/aren't forgetful

If you lean towards scatterbrained, you're going to find it hard to remember to put your braces back in straight after eating - I'm not, and I still lose track of how long I've had them out. That's not really an option with these braces, don't wear them enough and your teeth won't move enough - it's pretty simple.

5. You can handle a bit of pain and/or painkillers - and having your teeth sawed

Don't get me wrong, invisible braces are probably one of the least invasive methods of orthodontics out there. I mean, you can take them out - surely that says it all. But there's a rumour that I wouldn't be surprised if a certain large invisible brace provider started that this treatment is virtually painless. Nope. Whenever you're moving teeth into places they had no intentions of going themselves, it's going to hurt. It's definitely worse when you put new aligners in - every two weeks - and after a day or two it'll settle down. And if you're really lucky the rough edges of the brace will give you a mouth ulcer or two. Oh, and if you're trying to get teeth into places they physically can't go because there's no room, your dentist might whip out a miniature hand-saw and file your teeth down in the gaps between. While this shouldn't hurt, it is as terrifying as it sounds. If you can't handle dentistry, make sure you understand exactly what each stage of the process might involve. And yes, there'll be at least ten minutes of having your mouth stuffed full of goo to create the brace molds.

6. You don't travel lightly


Say hello to my travel dental kit. If I leave the house without this now, I literally have a panic attack because without it I can't eat. It also means I have to have a bigger bag to carry it around in... Fortunately I'm someone who looks like they're going away for a week when they're just going to the post office, so it wasn't too much trouble to find a space for it, but if you like a tiny day bag you're in trouble. At all times you'll need to carry with you: the braces's case, a toothbrush, floss, toothpaste, mouthwash (ideally), mouth spray, intensive lip balm and a bottle of water. On the latter two: your mouth can get really dry with these braces in which is a weird side effect that again doesn't get talked about lots.

7. You have, or can live with having, short nails i.e. no falsies!

Neither time I've embarked on this dentistry has the dentist responsible checked to see whether or not I have long/false nails. MASSIVE oversight. If you have false nails, these braces will destroy them. Long nails and it's gonna break 'em. They can be incredibly difficult to get out, especially if you have lots of attachments. The only way I've managed to unhook the plastic from the attachments is to use my now very short, but strong, nails to inch it off. Nail varnish won't last a minute, either. This is worst at the start of a new set of braces, but as they change every two weeks you quickly give up on having nice nails until it's over. In total I've had 7 months of these braces already and although you do get a bit of a knack for maneuvering them, I'd be surprised if anyone's technique doesn't involve the 'nail wrench'.

8. Having a bit of a 'monkey mouth' doesn't bother you


Not saying this particular phenomenon is especially visible here, but it is a tiny bit as I know what my face looks like (I see enough photos of it doing this blog!). The braces are thin but they can alter the way your bite/jaw sits and if you've got attachments on your front teeth, you might notice your lips are puffing out a bit. I not-so-fondly refer to this as my monkey mouth. It's probably barely perceptible to anyone but me, but I'm the one who has to look at myself in the mirror every day, alright?! Monkey mouth also manages to ruin several outfit photos I try to take for this blog, these days.

9. You can also accept the world's worst morning breath and a bit of dribble

I'm sure this isn't just a side-effect of invisible braces, but as I've never had the 'normal' kind I'm just going to put this out there anyway for anyone who doesn't know... Your morning breath will be potent enough to knock someone out. Just started a new relationship? You might want to wait a while... Oh, and be prepared for dribble. LOTS of dribble. You've never known dribble until you've spent ten minutes at the start of your treatment trying to prize one corner of a new aligner off of your teeth. Tip: if the dentist asks you to demonstrate removing the braces in front of them, firmly decline or at least accept the fact you will transform before their very eyes into an horrendous, over-sized baby with no control over your saliva whatsoever.

10. Once you start something, you will darn well finish it!

This is probably the most important advice I can give you of all. If you are someone who can't commit to things, or gives up easily, this really isn't for you. Most treatment takes over a year - I've heard of it taking almost two (mine will be 13 months + 2 months of retainers daily, so 15). You will have to make it part of your daily routine and you will have to schedule some of your life around it to make it work properly. If you can't or don't want to do that, a permanent, fixed option would be better for you. Or don't do it at all! 


Any of you ever thought about having cosmetic dentistry before? In the UK, you might get straightening on the NHS when you're young, but they don't insist. Someone wriggled out of their NHS orthodontic appointment because they thought having frizzy hair (this was pre-hair straightening technology), glasses, puppy fat AND braces aged 15 might have been one too many boxes ticked on the 'Reasons I'll never have a boyfriend' list... 


Follow me at Bloglovin'  Facebook  Twitter  Instagram  Pinterest

23 comments:

  1. Thanks for the honest post! These are the kinds of things people need to find when they search for options. I have a friend who tried this and it worked for them, but I also know a few people who ended up not going with it.

    Also, LOVE your outfit post below.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you think it could be useful - I just feel like you don't hear the full picture. People are very keen to show how their teeth are looking throughout, but not talking about the whole picture! And thanks!

      Delete
  2. I had Invisalign a couple of years ago, and although it was expensive, it was honestly one of the best things I've ever done, because I was SO self-conscious about my teeth! I was lucky in that I didn't have to have any of the "bumps" attached, and most of the work I had done was on my bottom teeth, so I was done with the top braces in a couple of months, but I totally agree with all your downsides here. For me, the "monkey mouth" was the worst thing - like you, I don't think it was particularly noticeable to anyone but me (and to my mum, who kept going, "OMG, it's changing the shape of your face!"), but I know what my face usually looks like, so it was quite strange seeing it!

    Oh, and I also absolutely HATED having the impressions taken every few weeks... my dentist ended up having to use trays that I think were made for children, but I would still start gagging (and then panicking) every time I had to have new ones done. I'm possibly quite strange in that I've never really been *afraid* of the dentist (I mean, I don't enjoy it, but I don't freak out about it, either...) but any time I knew I'd be having that done, I would absolutely dread it! All of that said, though, it was SO worth it, so I'm sure you'll be more than happy with the finished results :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know how you got away with no attachments - so jealous! The first time I had these braces I had 12 and thought myself hard done by... until the 18 this time! I wonder if it's something they do more now than they did before? And ha, trust mums to say things like that - it's exactly something I imagine mine saying too!

      Also weird that you had to have impressions every few weeks - that genuinely isn't the way my treatment's being handled now or was before. My one set at the start has been used to create *all* of my aligners - I imagine the next time I'll have to have impressions taken is for my retainers.It does make you gag, it's quite horrible. I've never been scared of dentists/dentistry either and I got over th mini-saw thing, but the moulds stuff is genuinely quite unpleasant. Still though, like you say, I'm sure I'm going to be over the moon with the end results :)

      Delete
    2. On my top teeth, I had it purely to close a gap I had between two teeth... my dentist said it was basically one of the easiest things you can do with Invisalign, so that's possibly why. No idea why I escaped it with the bottom teeth, though: I must just have been lucky!

      With the impressions, when I said "every few weeks", I meant to type "every few months" - it wasn't for every set of aligners or anything like that, but I did have it done more than once. My memory is a bit fuzzy, but I seem to remember I'd get a bunch of trays all at the same time, then have to have more impressions taken to see where my teeth had shifted to before they could make up the next bunch. I hated it so much I would dread it for days! Luckily I hated my teeth more, though, so I kept going :)

      Delete
  3. Ah that makes more sense now! I think for mine they've made all 14 aligners up from one set of impressions... but that doesn't include the fact I had impressions taken for the 7 months treatment I had before. Nor the fact that I got called back in to have the last batch taken again - and ended up having to give FOUR impressions on my bottom teeth as air bubbles kept getting in... you'd have hated that ;) well, to be fair, *I* hated that!

    ReplyDelete
  4. This post made me laugh as I had invisalign done about 5 years ago and could relate to a lot of these (although I also didn't have to have the "lumps").

    Having said that, I honestly think it is one of the best decisions I ever made. I used to look at photos of me and only be able to see my horrible wonky teeth and so stopped smiling properly. Now I can't stop smiling big grins in photos! Sounds cheesy, but true! I hope you will feel the same too at the end.

    If anyone is interested in the treatment and lives near Ely (Cambridgeshire) or is prepared to travel to treatments, Paul Humber at Soham Dental (http://www.sohamdental.co.uk/paul.htm) is one of the nicest people you will meet (and was a lot cheaper than the price you quoted).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Surely too much of a coincidence that you live such a short distance from me - our paths must have crossed at some point! I did see that Soham Dental were quoting less, but they were too far for me to get to easily. Everywhere else I spoke to was around the £3500 mark for full treatment... I'm actually on Invisalign 'Lite' so mine wasn't quite that much, but that's because it's not 'full' treatment, it's only 14 aligners as I'd already had 8. I'm hoping I'll feel the same way you do at the end of it, for sure!

      Delete
  5. 0h gosh this sounds like an ordeal!! My teeth ain't perfect, gap on one side, hence I smile with no teeth showing. I have no idea why my parents never got me to an orthodontist when I was young. (Mental note to ask my Mum this, as well as why she made me have bowl haircuts)

    I think you're being very, very brave and I honestly couldn't tell from that pic that you had braces in. I hope the rest of the treatment goes well, and you'll be flashing your gnashers at us in blog posts!

    No chance I'd get treatment now, for at least ten more reasons than you've listed above! Xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My parents claimed my teeth 'weren't that bad' before I started treatment - but beauty's in the eye of the beholder and all that! I had a bowl-cut fringe, I feel your pain on both counts... We'll see if I ever build up the courage to grin in my blog posts though - once a teeth-hater, I feel like always a teeth-hater! x

      Delete
  6. Good luck with the Invisalign! One of my work friends has them, and she gets so annoyed about always having to scedule extra time to brush her teeth after lunch. I would get so frustrated with something like that. But feeling comfortable with your smile afterwards seems like it would be worth the pain.
    I have a pretty significant overbite, but it doesn't seem worth it to correct it. I would love to get my teeth whitened, though - lots of coffee over the years has left them a little grungy looking.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is really irritating, but you have to just make peace with the annoyance and accept that as well as the expensive cost, it's the price you pay for the end result! The pain is actually the thing I don't mind the most, as it's only now and then and it seems fair enough! I definitely want whitening too - and the lucky thing is that it's part of my straightening 'package' so at some point soon it'll finally happen for me! I think in my case it was destruction-by-tea, though, being British an' all ;)

      Delete
  7. Hey! Keiko Lynn is also doing a little bit of Invisalign on her blog too. I've never had the need to get orthopedic work done but I definitely think that if I would rather deal with Invisalign than braces...especially if I were older. Good luck and I would just like to say you're still soo gorgeous regardless of your teeth :)
    Olivia | Her Name Was Celebration

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's definitely the better option for most adults, I think. You're so lucky you don't need it - jealous! And yes, I saw Keiko started it a little while back but she didn't say too much about the ins and outs, hence why I was trying to here! And thanks for the lovely compliment :) x

      Delete
  8. Wow, that first experience was unfortunate. Hopefully this one would totally work out for you. I see that you're very intent in finishing the job. This is important, as there are some people who stop halfway, which could cause additional problems later on. Your post might also help other people who are in a similar situation. Good luck!

    Felipe Robertson @ Gerald Regni, DMD

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Definitely, there is no point starting this if you're not determined to finish! I know a lot of people affected by my first surgery's abrupt closure, so I really hope it could inspire anyone else going through the same thing to give it another go!

      Delete
  9. This is such a tremendously interesting post, dear Cici, thank you very much for speaking at length and so candidly about your experience and suggestions for those who may be considering going down the same nearly, but not quite, invisible path. As someone with very bad teeth herself (beyond what, I've been told many times, braces of any sort could really do much for), who has been horribly embarrassed by them since childhood (so hence why 99.99999% of the time, you won't see my teeth in photos) and took years to even reach a point where I could discuss them with strangers or online, I truly applaud you for every last word you wrote here and for sharing pictures of your beautiful smile with us.

    Huge hugs & the utmost of understanding,
    ♥ Jessica

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah, being someone who hates her teeth herself, I do wonder when I see other bloggers smile without - but I'm sad to hear about your situation, Jessica. Again, I feel fortunate in comparison as at least I'm able to correct mine - and that I've got to a place where I can share the above photo as you've correctly guessed, I'm sure, that it took some effort to even get to that point. x

      Delete
  10. Wow that is quite the journey! I sure hope this way now works good all the way to the finish for you! I wish when I had braces as a kid they had invisiline! I had to have the good old fashion metal braces but it was worth it! Having good teeth is so important.

    Rebecca
    www.winnipegstyle.ca

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me too! Although I do wish that I'd been pushed into having metal braces when I was younger as it sure would have saved me a lot of physical and emotional pain as an adult going through the failed treatment experience... but at least I'm able to continue on and it didn't halt things for good.

      Delete
  11. Thanks for this very useful post. I am a forgetful person and often fail to remember simple things. I agree that with Invisalign, one needs to be careful. I am a kind of person who would forget wearing them again after eating. So, this post is a good reminder to wear Invisalign frequently to get the desired results.
    Though, I need to confirm the cost from an Invisalign specialist.

    ReplyDelete
  12. The success rate of Invisalign is indeed the best indicator that this dental treatment method is certainly the right one for all types of teeth straightening and alignment problems.
    Invisalignchelsea MA

    ReplyDelete
  13. I was hesitant at first about these clear braces but you hit the mark with your message. They are affordable and they do the work of those traditional braces in less time and less pain too. I would rather be switching out the trays each month than having to go to the dentist to have metal braces adjusted and tightened.

    ReplyDelete

Comments make my day! Be sure to leave details of your own blog so I can check it out.